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Inspired BlogCelebrating US Black History Month: Nigel & Lakisha

February is US National Black History Month – a time to celebrate the cultures and contributions of Black and African Americans throughout US history.

This February, in celebration of Black History Month, The Bridge — Red Ventures’ Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and Pacific Islander (BILAP) employee resource group — will be highlighting teammates from RV’s Black community who have made a lasting impact on their teams, towns, and networks. To learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion at RV, visit

What’s been your proudest moment in your RV career so far?

There have been so many proud moments. I love what I do, and it goes beyond the actual title I have. I like developing talent and seeing someone I work with grow and reach their goals.

I’m amazed by how Road to Hire and the other RV social impact teams have grown. I remember when Road to Hire was just a vision — there wasn’t even a name for it. Seeing the impact that the program has had on its students, and even having had the opportunity to mentor some of the program graduates makes me proud to work at RV.

In addition, one of my most recent professional accomplishments was taking the leap from Sales Leadership to Recruiting. I worked in Sales Leadership for about 10 ½ years of my 11+ years here at RV. It was a difficult decision for me to make due to the fear of leaving something I loved and have a lot of experience in. The transition has been great. I always felt that the skills I’ve learned in Sales Leadership was transferrable, and now I have proof.

What is a moment in Black History that influenced or shaped your career/life?

There are two moments that stand out — seeing the first Black president sworn in and more recently the first Black, South Asian, woman vice president. I never thought I would see that. I am usually an optimistic person, but living as a Black woman I know there are so many challenges that my community must navigate around. Systemic racism exists, so experiencing these things shows that there’s hope and that we are changing.

Why is it important for companies to nurture and celebrate diverse workforces?

There are so many talented people. Unfortunately, a lot of talented people are underrepresented in the workforce. If we do not nurture and celebrate a diverse workforce, we will miss out. I always think of it like this: having people with different experiences, backgrounds, and viewpoints in every part of a company’s decision-making process will ensure that we are looking at different perspectives. It also challenges us to be better and do better.

What is your favorite inspirational quote or mantra?

I have three.

My favorite poem is by Maya Angelou. There is one part I live by and often say to myself when I am giving myself a pep talk (or when I need to feel a little sassy!): “It’s in the reach of my arms, the span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I’m a woman, Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me.”

Another one of my favorite quotes is from Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

I don’t remember where I heard my third quote, but it is still something I live by: “With growth there will be discomfort.”

What’s been your proudest moment in your RV career so far?

My proudest moment in my RV career so far was when Ric [RV CEO] and our leadership stepped up and showed their commitment to changing the culture of our company. The constant communication from Ric about what was going on in the world and what we were going to do to be the change we want to see in the world, made me proud to be a part of RV. On top of that, I got a chance to meet with Ric (and other leaders) one on one, with no other purpose than to get to know one another and understand how I felt as a black man, in 2020, in America. 

What do you think about when you hear “Black History Month”?

Black History Month is a time to celebrate the multitude of Black heroes that overcame unbelievable odds and did so much more with very little. For me, this month is also a reminder that it’s not enough for me to have a successful career, raise a fruitful family and live a good life. I’m reinvigorated to do more for those I don’t know, those who may not have what I have and need help. I’m inspired to lend a helping hand, encourage, or simply serve others. 

Who are some of the Black and African-American role models in your life?

My mother is the biggest role model in my life. She raised my brother and I as a single mother, working two jobs to make sure we had what we needed growing up. She went on to start a flooring company and became a real-estate investor, inspiring me to follow in her footsteps.

There are two other business moguls who have made a lasting impression in my life. These two individuals unfortunately are not alive today but their legacy lives on inspiring thousands, if not millions of aspiring entrepreneurs like myself: John Johnson, the first African American to make the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in world in 1982, and Reginald Lewis, the first black man to create a billion-dollar business empire in the late 1980s.

John and Reginald both grew up very poor. John Johnson turned a $500 loan (using his mothers furniture as collateral) into a hundred-plus million dollar publishing company and established Ebony and Jet magazines. Reginald had an exceptional work ethic and intelligence that enabled him to position himself for great success. He started as attorney and developed into a master negotiator. He would buy falling companies, improve their product lines and processes, and later sell them for a big profit. On top of their many accomplishments, these two tycoons were also devoted family men. I truly admire all that they were able to accomplish in their lives, and they give me hope and inspiration that I, too can achieve greatness.  

Why is it important for companies to nurture and celebrate diverse workforces?

People of the BILAP community are most times concerned about how they are being perceived — they’re very mindful of what they say, how they dress, and how they speak. This in turn causes one to be more reserved, even passive, and more of an order-taker than a contributing member of a team, with a voice. It’s important for companies to nurture diverse workforces because it’s so important for everyone to be comfortable in their own skin and be their most authentic selves. That environment breeds creativity, as well as a different level of innovation because everyone feels empowered to participate and openly offer their ideas.

Want more on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)? Check out these key learnings from our first Annual Uplift Panel.

About the Author:
Natalie Brown

Natalie works as a Creative at Red Ventures from the Atlanta office. When she isn’t designing for Allconnect, she can be found cooking some delicious vegan meals and running her vegan cookie company, BOV Treats.

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